After a ton of hype, Apple’s iPad came out two Saturdays ago, and ever since then there have been thousands of articles written about it and the analysis has been all over the place. Some people are having a hard time figuring out who it’s right for and who it’s not. Some of you are just wondering why there’s so much hype surrounding it in the first place. The reason is because it is being tabbed a tablet computing device, but it’s much different than tablets from the past. It has no traditional keyboard, it uses a mobile operating system, you can interact with it like no other computing device, and it is razor thin. I’ve been reading a lot about the iPad, and I’ve made some opinions about who it works for, so here is my list of who it might be work for and who it will not.
Who It’s Right For
1. The Casual Computer User. If you’ve only used a computer for checking email, surfing the internet, watching TV shows, and manipulating your digital photos, then the iPad could be a great option for you, and since the base model starts at $499, it’s a great price for someone who doesn’t like to spend a lot of money on gadgets. It’s also a great replacement for a portable DVD player. The only issue you’re going to run into is when you want to type a lengthy document that requires a good deal of formatting. If you type the proper way, it’s very tough to type that way. You’re limited mostly to touch typing.
2. Traveling Business People. The iPad price and specs aren’t too shabby. I think the iPad could really be an asset for people that are constantly on the road visiting clients and showing them short presentations and demonstrations. Imagine sitting at a table with a client and placing the iPad flat on the table. You can sift through presentation slides together and even watch a demonstration video without the feeling of huddling up next to a laptop. Plus, the iPad is so thin and light, that a business traveler could easily fit it into a small briefcase. Plus, for those of you who own an iPhone, imagine some of the produtivity and business applications that would be SO much better with a larger screen.
3. Computer Users Wanting to Convert To a Mac. Ever since I got an iPhone, a year and a half ago, I have always said that the iPhone is the gateway drug for Windows PC users to convert over to being a Mac computer user. A year and a half later, I now own a 21.5″ iMac and a 13″ Macbook Pro. I’m proof that the iPhone is a Mac gateway drug, and I think the iPad is going to serve as a gateway as well. A lot of people who have used Windows their whole life are scared to jump straight to the Mac OS. Buying an iPad might be a good way to ease into what it’s like to have an Apple product without the full-blown experience of an iMac or Macbook.
Who It’s Not Right For
1. Students. I know that a lot of people are going to disagree with me on this one, but I really don’t think this is the right device for students. Assuming you’re going to be involved in a rigorous academic career in college, you’ll be writing very long papers, preparing complex presentations, and taking a lot of notes while in class. The iPad is not right for taking on these types of tasks. I demonstrated it the other day at the Apple store, and I really couldn’t see myself typing something longer than an email or short blog post. I am sure there will be some cool note-taking applications that will come out for the iPad where you can just write on the screen, but I still think it’d be tough to keep up with it in a classroom.
2. Someone who already owns Apple products. I really don’t see the point in someone buying the iPad if they own an iPhone/iPod Touch and a Macbook or Mac desktop. You could justify it if you only owned a Mac desktop. If you bought one and you already owned all of this stuff, it would be more because you’re a Mac junkie, and you’re obsessed with owning their new gadget. This is a device that you can’t put in your pocket or purse. If you’re constantly toting around a backpack, large bag, or briefcase, then it would be convenient, but for someone like me who has a Macbook and an iPhone 4, I can’t justify buying one.